Tips for Better, Healthier Cooking | Veggiecation© a Culinary-Nutrition Education Program About Vegetables
Friday, 11 April 2014 15:34

Tips for Better, Healthier Cooking

Cooking doesn’t need to be a big production in order to be delicious. The simplest ingredients and a few tricks for turning up the flavor can be the key to a successful home-cooked meal. The phrase “practice makes perfect” is true when it comes to the kitchen. The more you cook, the more you’re presented with opportunities to experiment. That being said, we have been in the business of experimenting for years!

Here are some of our favorite tips we’ve pickup along the way.


  • Squeeze on some citrus! Add some lemon, lime or fresh orange juice to your veggies, grains, chicken or fish for more flavor and less calories. 
    • Another note about citrus:  use citrus zest to top off any dish to add a unique and complex component to rice dishes and salads.
  • Use turmeric in place of salt for a nutritious and heart healthy dish. 
    • Turmeric has the power to give even the greenest veggie a bright orange/yellow color. Its mild, earthy flavor packs some huge health benefits.
    • Most notable health benefit is it has HUGE anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Blanch greens for 2 minutes to soften before sautéing in order to use less oil. 
    • To blanch: boil water, submerge the vegetable your cooking for 2-3 minutes (until the color brightens), remove and run under cold water.
    • Please note that the goal isn’t to boil the vegetable, this is just a method for softening so that when you sauté, less oil is required.
  • Massage kale to make it sweeter. Read our step-by-step guide here!
  • Don't be afraid to season, especially with healthy herbs and spices! Herbs and spices can transform any veggie sauté into something new and exciting. Try using more of the following ingredients to mix it up at dinnertime!
    • Parsley
    • Basil
    • Mint
    • Rosemary
    • Mustard Seed – adds a great popping texture to soups and veggie mashes
    • Cumin 
    • Oregano
    • Thyme
    • Garlic – nothing transforms a dish like garlic. If your sautéing anything, throw in a clove!
      • Cool fact about garlic, allowing chopped garlic to sit for a few minutes actually increases its heart health properties.
  • Get spicy in the kitchen! Cayenne pepper, Chipotle hot sauce, Ginger, Jalapenos all can boost your metabolism. 
  • Replace breadcrumbs with wheat germ.
    • Wheat germ is the by-product of producing wheat, but oddly enough, it’s the most vitamin and mineral rich part of the wheat plant!
    • Wheat germ is packed with antioxidants, like Vitamin E, which help protect cell and tissues from damage. It’s also a great source of folate – perfect for expecting mothers!
  • Fill up half your pasta bowl with veggies
    • If you’ve ever struggled with choosing between pasta and salad for dinner, why not have the best of both worlds? Adding not only increases veggie intake, but also adds texture to bring your simple tomato sauce to another level.
    • Another note about cooking pasta: remove pasta from boiling water before it’s fully cooked and add it to pan with the sauce – this way, it will absorb the flavors of the sauce.

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